The Paralegal’s Role in Contract Lifecycle Management (CLM)

The-Paralegals-Role-in-CLMWhen talking about contract management, we often think about the role attorneys play in drafting, reviewing, negotiating, and managing contracts. But what about the other players? Like the paralegals who play a key role in supporting the contract management process and related contract lifecycle management (CLM) systems.

According to recent studies, about half of law departments process more than 1,000 agreements every month. That’s a lot of contracts! Arguably, too many for a legal department to handle without sufficient support staff or a proper technology solution.

Paralegals, like lawyers, can specialize in different areas of law. The newest of which is contracts and contract management. Their diverse skill set lends them to be strong allies of modern legal departments looking to provide best-in-class legal services and quick turn-around times for contracts.

History Of Paralegals

The use of specifically educated paralegals to assist lawyers in delivering legal services is a relatively new phenomenon in the history of American law, dating back to the 1960s. Rapidly rising costs of legal services, combined with lack of access to legal services for low- and middle-income Americans, caused the government, consumer groups, and the organized bar to take a closer look at the way legal services were being delivered. The paralegal profession was born as a solution.

Although paralegals are not allowed by law to give legal advice, an experienced paralegal can work alongside an attorney on a variety of complex substantive legal assignments.

Modern Day Paralegals

These days, skilled paralegals are responsible for duties once only handled by attorneys.  As the practice of law continues to evolve, so does the demand for paralegals. Not surprisingly, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 10.5% employment growth for paralegals between 2019 and 2029.

The increased pressure to deliver more affordable legal services has paved the way for legal technology and Alternative Legal Services Providers (ALSP) to play a more significant role in providing these services. In August 2020, Utah became the first state to allow individuals and entities to explore creative ways to safely allow lawyers and non-lawyers to practice law and reduce constraints on how lawyers market and promote their services. This is a sign of significant change on the horizon.

The Contract Management Paralegal

As technology continues to play a bigger role in the day-to-day practice of law, those who work in the legal profession are finding the need to become increasingly more tech-savvy. Lawyers are seeking experienced paralegals who not only possess legal knowledge and administrative ability, but those who are also technologically proficient.

For those working in a corporate setting, their position more closely resembles a legal technology manager than a traditional paralegal who fills out forms and calendars hearing dates.  More than ever, lawyers are relying on paralegals to manage and administer the organization’s CLM system as the designated subject matter expert.

Skilled paralegals can support the CLM process by:

  • Overseeing the complete lifecycle of the contracts: from initial request to final signature and contract distribution;
  • Assigning contracts to contract reviewers, whether manually, via email, or through a CLM system;
  • Upgrading and managing contract repositories and templates;
  • Inspecting and drafting a variety of complex legal agreements;
  • Obtaining contract signatures and approvals; and
  • Assisting in the implementation and training of the CLM systems used by the organization.

Paralegals interested in this legal field must continue to hone their project management and system management skills to stay competitive in this market. This includes acquiring certifications, developing specializations, attending continuing education courses, and staying current with legal and non-legal technology.

With the vast amount of CLM trainings available to paralegals these days, it is a natural progression for paralegals interested in technology to gain specialization in contract management and oversee all stages of the contract lifecycle.

*         *         *

Legal departments inundated with a high volume of contracts and considering revamping your contract management process or adopting a new CLM should consider having a skilled contract management paralegal on your team. Not only will it streamline your processes and  increase your department’s efficiencies, but it will also improve your bottom line; and forever transform the future of the way you deliver legal services.

About the Author

More Articles

About the Author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Articles

How to Build the Partnership Between Sales and Legal for Smoother Contracting

User-friendly processes and technology can help build a symbiotic relationship between Legal and Sales during contract reviews.

Beyond the Signature: How to Extract Maximum Value from Your Contracts

Leverage the data contained within your signed contracts to extract maximum value for your organization.

The Contracts Queen’s Guide to Creating a Practical Contract Playbook

Contract playbooks can be used to improve relationships, empower stakeholders, speed up the contracting process, and save time

Four Strategy Sessions Leaders Can Implement to Level-Up Contract Management

Most Recent

Four Ways to be Successful as a Contract Manager

The role of a Contract Manager is to get to know the business they’re in and reflect the

De-Identified Data in SaaS Agreements

There is an increase in the significance of the right of a SaaS provider to “de-identify” or “anonymize”

Understanding Performance-Based Contracting Methods

Using fairly-negotiated and well-managed performance-based contracts can help your company adapt to changes in the supply chain and

6 Critical Elements of Indemnification Clauses in Business Transactions

Strategically crafting indemnification clauses is critical for delineating and distributing the risks associated with business transactions.

Contract Nerds Logo

Download PDF

[download id='9545']
Generic filters